House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has demanded interviews with State Department officials, criticizing the department’s “anemic subpoena response” on documents related to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In a Thursday letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, McCaul expressed dissatisfaction with the department’s delivery of a mere “73 pages of significantly duplicative materials” by the July 25 deadline. The subpoena, issued on July 18, was the culmination of an ongoing dispute between the committee and the State Department regarding documents tied to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.
McCaul, leading a Republican investigation into the Biden administration’s approach to the withdrawal, called for these documents to be submitted by August 16 and has set an interview deadline for the department’s legislative affairs assistant secretary and acting legal adviser for August 21.
McCaul also emphasized the importance of the Afghanistan After-Action Review (AAR) files in the committee’s inquiry. Notably, while the AAR was executed as a 90-day review, the department still needs to provide the requested documents. McCaul stressed the significance of the files by stating, “The AAR files are necessary to inform the Committee’s consideration of potential legislation aimed at preventing a repeat of the withdrawal’s blunders.”
McCaul added that the lack of compliance from the State Department is “unacceptable,” claiming that they are “deliberately obstructing the Committee’s oversight.”